A tractor tilling fields. Dragonflies darting along a river’s edge. A bicyclist out for a ride. These are some of the images that come to mind when people think about Iowa, and they are some of the images that will be part of the “Iowa story” inside our new hospital. In fact, each level of the hospital will have its own unique color and icon.

Iowa’s farmlands, prairies, woodlands, rivers, and skies are reflected throughout our new hospital. These elements not only reflect Iowa’s natural beauty but also help guide families by creating clear travel paths. The colors featured on each level were chosen after careful study of photographs showing habitats throughout the state. The shades of blue, green, purple, and other colors are also soothing and child-friendly. Some reflect colors of specific objects in real life, such as a red barn in the farming scene or blue water in the river scene.

Patients, visitors, and employees will enjoy picking out details from scenes throughout the hospital that feature the icons. Some icons celebrate Iowa’s farming roots. Others represent wildlife that can be found in our state. A bicycle, canoe, and kite symbolize activities that children enjoy. Fittingly, a hot air balloon represents Level 12. These large balloons rise into the sky in much the same way that our new children’s hospital does.

Both the icons and colors will be used to guide families throughout the hospital. The wall behind each unit clerk desk (on inpatient floors) will display that level’s icon. The icons will also be found on signs and elevator buttons.

Paint hues will vary throughout each level, providing a visual clue as visitors move through the halls. The colors will be the most vibrant near the public entrance to each level. Hues will become lighter as visitors approach the west end of the hospital, nearest Kinnick Stadium.

To provide an added sense of discovery, the icon for each level will be displayed on a cabinet next to each patient room door. The large icon is made up of many smaller versions of the same icon. For example, on Level 6, a large blue bird is comprised of many smaller blue birds. For extra fun, a few of the smaller blue birds have been replaced with icons from other floors. Visitors will need to look carefully to notice which ones are out of place. The same concept was used to develop graphics on other inpatient floors.